[ sil-ee-uhm ]
See synonyms for cilium on
  1. singular of cilia.

Origin of cilium

From Latin

Words Nearby cilium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cilium in a sentence

  • Each consists of a very slender curved filament, with a still finer filament, or cilium, arising from it on each side.

  • At this stage many of the spores assume each a flagellate cilium, and so acquire power of more rapid locomotion.

    The North American Slime-Moulds | Thomas H. (Thomas Huston) MacBride

British Dictionary definitions for cilium


/ (ˈsɪlɪəm) /

nounplural cilia (ˈsɪlɪə)
  1. any of the short thread-like projections on the surface of a cell, organism, etc, whose rhythmic beating causes movement of the organism or of the surrounding fluid

  2. the technical name for eyelash

Origin of cilium

C18: New Latin, from Latin: (lower) eyelid, eyelash

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for cilium


[ sĭlē-əm ]

Plural cilia
  1. A tiny hairlike projection on the surface of some cells and microscopic organisms, especially protozoans. Cilia are capable of whipping motions and are used by some microorganisms, such as paramecia, for movement. Cilia lining the human respiratory tract act to remove foreign matter from air before it reaches the lungs.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.